Wesley Chapel, Florida 1,2
Elevation: 108'
January 21, 2012 - After a two-day drive to Florida and a good night's
sleep I arrived early at the start inside the Cypress Creek Preserve, a 
few miles north of Land O' Lakes, and not too far north of Tampa.  The 
weather was mild and dry even before the faint light of morning began
to break the dawn.  Dressing for warm temps I made my way to the
start amid about a hundred other 100M, 100K, and relay participants.
The usual buzz was in the air as people warded off the usual pre-race
jitters.  The course would be an out-and-back 16.67-mile level jaunt
through the pine/palmetto forest, two-thirds of which would be on
mostly needle-covered soft sand and the rest on service roads. 

I was aiming for a PR so began with some other folks at a reasonably 
upbeat 6mph tempo.  The first out-and-back was conversational, meeting
folks of varied backgrounds and ambitions; one girl from Calgary and
an ex-pat from Transylvania.  The time at the start of the second go-
round was 2H 40M, much quicker than I had planned.  I purposefully
slowed as I went, but encountered increasing challenge in running in
the loose sand.  Much of the trail was dug up by wild pigs searching for
roots to eat.  Many of these diggings were right on the trail, so one had
to watch so as not to fall.  The RD had warned us to look out for the
wild pigs and alligators, which should be hibernating, she said.  There
were enough runners to distract wildlife so that all I encountered was a
singing mockingbird or two, always a welcome sound when I visit the

The loose footing increasingly aggrevated my injured Achilles to a 
point that I felt it inadvisable to continue to the finish, whereupon I
bailed on the course after five hours and 29 miles, once again 
disappointed that I had a circumstance that prevented my finishing.
I'll stay away from sand from now on.  I drove home with my tail
between my legs and made plans for better days ahead.